CFCA stories

Filipino families create hog-raising business

May 17, 2010

Hogs provide income for families in the Philippines
Larry, a member of a PamBuhay from the Philippines, tends to his
hogs. He teamed up with other members of his PamBuhay to create
a livelihood project with a loan from a CFCA livelihood fund.

A CFCA community from Quezon, Philippines, has discovered a new recipe for success: hard work, patience and hogs.

Thirteen parents of sponsored children make and sell tocino (bacon) and longaniza (sausage) to sponsored members and the surrounding community. The endeavor has given the members hope by teaching them a valuable income-generating skill they can use to improve their quality of life.

Starting small 

Most of the families in the Quezon project PamBuhay (community group) earned little as tenant farmers. They supplemented their incomes by doing carpentry and other side jobs. Hilario, who goes by Larry, a  volunteer leader of the group, drove a pedicab (three-wheeled passenger vehicle). His oldest son, Rodrigo, has been sponsored through CFCA for 10 years.

“Being a tenant farmer, I only received a minimal share from my landlord,” Larry said. “I had to stretch out what I received in order to meet the basic needs of my family.”

Three fathers, including Larry, and 10 mothers of the PamBuhay borrowed $2,100 from the Quezon project’s livelihood fund to buy their first batch of piglets. The fund is a project initiative to help parents generate capital for small-scale livelihood initiatives. The piglets were distributed to the member families, who raised them in their backyards.

Expanding the business

Initially, the families sold the mature hogs to the local butcher, but they soon discovered they could earn additional income if they sold processed meat. With training in food handling and preparation from the  Philippines department of agriculture, the group now turns the butchered meat into tocino and longaniza.

The PamBuhay sells its tocino at a discounted price to the Quezon project, which includes the tocino in the bi-monthly food provisions for 2,270 sponsored members. The group also sells its products to a local school and nearby small markets.

The members plan to purchase a meat slicer and freezer, and to venture into other types of meat processing, such as ham. They also plan to start a feed mill to produce their own hog feed, which will reduce their expenses and provide more income for the members.

Improved quality of life

Each member’s share of the profits depends on how many hogs they raise.

“I started with three, now I have seven,” Larry said. “When these are sold, I keep 60 percent and 40 percent goes to the group. We have equal share of the tocino production because we all contribute to it.”

One of the objectives of the Hope for a Family sponsorship program is to put families on the path to self-sufficiency. Larry is on his way. He said the hog production has enabled him to cover the educational needs of his children and to save money for his family’s future needs.

“On behalf of my fellow group members, I am thankful for the hope and opportunity that CFCA has given us,” he said. “Now I can say that in the midst of poverty, there is hope. You are the hope that God gave to us.”

The members believe in sharing their good fortune.

They charge sponsored members $1.10 instead of the $1.50 other providers charge for tocino. The group also offers a healthier product. They follow all required safety procedures, use only authorized ingredients, add smaller quantities of preservatives, and have each hog inspected before butchering.

In addition to investing in their business, the group is investing in the potential of youth and the future of the community. They plan to offset the educational expenses of one college student who is determined to finish school but can’t afford to, and to open membership to other CFCA families so they, too, can become economically stable.

“This is our way of returning the blessings we acquired from CFCA,” Larry said.

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